While there is only one mostly-guaranteed nomination for films releasing this week, there are four films that have some measure of potential. Here they are in the order they are most likely to be nominated:
This is the film that I think has the best chance at an Oscar nomination. With all the free publicity Harvey Weinstein has wrung out of the MPAA’s refusal to back down from its R rating, and Weinstein’s own intense ability to sell films to the Academy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one nominated for Best Documentary Feature and possibly even come out the winner. But there’s another film that opened this weekend that might better fit the profile of recent Oscar winners.
The Island President
A semi-political film about a courageous president overcoming odds in his tiny, sea-level nation, championing world attention be put towards global warming and the eventual destruction of his home. Mohamed Nasheed is president of the Maldives, an island chain southwest of India and the lowest-lying country in the world. As sea levels rise, Nasheed struggles to make the world pay attention before his entire homeland is submerged. It fits along well with many of the last few winners in this category, which could give it leverage…if it can get nominated, which may still be in doubt.
A box office weakling in its opening weekend, Tarsem’s film won’t be ignored easily by the Art Directors Guild or the Costume Designers Guild, both of which are likely to nominate the film in their Fantasy categories. The problem is, can that translate over to the Oscars? I’m doubtful of that simply because the film will be mostly forgotten come Oscar time, but depending on how it sits among the year’s remaining films, it could have a chance. Tarsem is the main reason I think the film has any chance. His first film, The Cell, was nominated for Makeup and received a nomination from the Art Directors Guild. His second film, The Fall, was a minor contender for several design awards, but came up empty handed. And the critically-maligned Immortals, his third and prior film, wasn’t even a blip on most radars. While he’s not terribly gifted at getting Oscar nominations, few can deny his films look amazing…just apparently not award-worthy.
Wrath of the Titans
Sequelitis will likely be the dooming factor of Wrath of the Titans, the follow-up to box office hit Clash of the Titans, itself a remake of the camp classic. The problem here is that critics seem to loathe the movie, its box office is roughly half of its predecessor and the Oscars didn’t even like the first well enough to give it a nomination. Clash was ignored by the Academy and several tech guilds, including the ones most likely to honor its sequel, keeping its hopes pinned to Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects, categories that will slowly fill with more impressive films and bigger hits by years-end leaving this one in the dust.